Things That Make Me Happy: Historypin

Combine Google “Places I’ve Visited” with history geeks and what do you get? Historypin.

A user attaches historic photos to the globe according to where the content took place. On a brief search this morning, I viewed photos from a 1904 train wreck in Perryville, Maryland, sewing factory employees in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, and a turn of the century view of Western Maryland College (not McDaniel College, dammit) in Westminster, Maryland.

A Historypin candidate? Packing Apples at Mt. Pleasant Orchard in Havre de Grace, Maryland. The orchard existed from the 1750s until 2002, when it was bulldozed for a housing development. Photo: RL Fifield collection. WPA?

Museums are joining up to reach new audiences  exposing users to their collections in new ways. The list includes some of my favorite institutions, including the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Historic New England, The George Washington University Library’s Special Collections, and the Library of Virginia. On the FAQ they do outline that users are responsible for owning/securing copyright of the photos it posts on Historypin. Fair enough. Posting on Historypin does allow them to use the images as part of a non-exclusive license in specific ways related to the website, such as publication and select online exhibitions. See Historypin Terms and Conditions here. 

They do state that they will remove any offensive content. I do think that necessarily, the history of some locations is offensive. Can you really tell the history of Times Square cleanly? Who is doing the censoring?

If you are looking for another way to spend time online, here you go!

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.